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The eagerly anticipated new Mercedes C-Class definitely has the family look from the larger S-Class. It has just arrived in Ireland.

Mercedes debuts new C Class

One in five new Mercedes-Benz cars sold in Ireland come from the C-Class range, so the launch of a new model represents a very important milestone. It’s a car that Mercedes can’t afford to get wrong. Once the range is complete, it will comprise of four petrol and five diesel models, although given our market conditions, it’s only the diesels that will be of particular interest. These start from €37,950. At the moment, we have the C220 CDI, powered by a 2.2 litre 170 bhp engine, which features emissions as low as 103 g/km, courtesy in part from a Cd of just 0.24. Fuel consumption is a claimed 4 l/100 km, which is an excellent result and this particular version sells from €43,300. The other two models on sale currently are both petrol. These consist of the C180 with a 1.6 litre 156 bhp engine, with a CO2 figure of 116 g/km and a C200 2.0 litre with 184 bhp …

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Summer motoring with the ‘Champion

This week’s edition of  The  Clare Champion is not one to be missed by anybody who owns a car. Our 20-page Summer Motoring supplement has something for everybody, from those who drive a modest  small car to those who own or aspire to getting behind the wheel of a top of the range model. The supplement, our second annual edition, gives valuable information and tips on buying a car. Not only does it deal with the mechanics of the car or the exterior and interior specs but also with fiance and leasing options. With an ever increasing emphasis on reducing our carbon footprint, there is a feature on green driving As the title suggests, Summer Motoring  has plenty to whet the appetite about the joys of motoring in dry and sunny conditions, whether on holidays at home or abroad, or on a day trip  in the countryside.  

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ISPCA alert: dogs die in hot cars

With the warm weather set to continue for several days, the ISPCA has cautioned that “dogs die in hot cars”. Pet owners often think leaving a window open is sufficient for their pet but this is not enough to prevent heatstroke under intense sunshine, which can have fatal consequences. “We all love the sunshine but it is also important to be aware of the dangers that can be caused by leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle during hot weather; even for 10 minutes can prove to be fatal,” said Carmel Murray, PRO for the animal charity. “You may think leaving the car window open will alleviate the risk of heat stroke, but under intense sunshine this is not sufficient, so if you want to bring your pet on a journey it is important to have a source of cool air from the windows/sunroof or air conditioning. Be sure that the destination is dog friendly and has a cool area with plenty of …

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The Kia Soul is a stylish small MPV that would fit well into any family.

This Kia has Soul

I was due to take Kia’s Soul for a weeks test directly after the launch at Kilmainham last week. It’s always nice to do that because it means you’re among the first journalists to give a new car a proper test. Since there were a few cars available, I asked for anything other than silver, which was good on two counts. The red one I took away had more equipment and the fire-engine red paintwork attracted huge attention while I had the car. In fact, I haven’t had so many comments about a car in a long time and all of them were universally positive. When you come down to it, the new car looks quite similar to the original Soul, but the details have been honed and refined and the result is very pleasing from all angles. From the back, it reminds me of nothing else but a bigger Volkswagen Up, but from other angles, it has an identity …

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Peugeot's Hybrid bike could be part of the answer to future urban transport. In the meantime, it's great fun.

Hybrid on two wheels

Is this Hybrid bike the future solution to urban transportation? Peugeot seems to think it will form at least part of the resolution to crowded cities and polluted air. For shorter journeys, it makes a huge amount of sense. It pedals exactly like a conventional bike but an electric motor, mounted in the front wheel, kicks in to allow hills to be tackled effortlessly. Human power is directed to the rear wheel, so between the two, you have the bike equivalent of four wheel drive. The 250W motor provides assistance up to 24 km/h before it cuts out. Any faster and it would be classified as a motorbike apparently. The range is 60 km, which is entirely ample for a vehicle of this type which would only be suitable for shorter journeys. There are other more conventional looking bikes in the range which have a range of up to 120 km. The bike weighs 22.5 kg, which isn’t bad, considering …

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More space for Peugeot 308

What do you do if your family needs more space than a saloon or hatchback offers and you don’t want an MPV? Simple really, the sensible choice is an estate, providing extra load space without all the baggage, both physical and metaphorical, of an MPV. Peugeot’s latest offering is the Sport Wagon, or estate version of their 308, a car that has just won the European Car of the Year title. Not only do you get extra load space, in this case over 600 litres with all the seats in use, the designers have taken the opportunity to lengthen the chassis, giving most of the extra space to rear seat passengers. This solves a little failing of the standard hatchback, which is a little skimpy on rear legroom. The engines we tried on the launch were the 2.0 litre 150 bhp HDi diesel, coupled with a six speed auto and a very interesting, new 1.2 litre turbo petrol. The petrol …

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Best quarter for car sales since 2008

Figures just released by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry for vehicle sales for the first quarter of this year show that new car sales are up by 26% on last year. At almost 50,000 cars sold, the first quarter of this year has outperformed all other periods since 2008. Sales in March are up 23%, reflecting a continuation of the consumer confidence that has been apparent since the start of the year. The Commercial Vehicle market is also positive, with light commercial/van sales up 43% this quarter and up 45% in March alone. Heavy commercial/truck sales are up 40% so far this year and 31% in March alone. Alan Nolan, SIMI Director General commented “Vehicle sales for the first quarter of 2014 remain significantly ahead of last year. Already we have registered over two thirds of total car sales for last year. We are clearly starting from a low base but the most notable point has been the …

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UK truck tax ‘discriminatory’ – Higgins

IRELAND’S  representative on the European Parliament Transport Committee, MEP Jim Higgins has today called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to do “whatever it takes” to ensure that the new UK truck tax which he described as “discriminatory” does not come into effect on April 1.  “I have discussed the matter with Leo Varadkar over the past number of months, and he has been successful in getting small sections of the A3 near Clones exempted, but it is not enough. The Taoiseach now needs to tell the UK that the charge is going to hurt Irish hauliers, and furthermore that it is discriminatory. The Government should examine the possibility of lodging a complaint with the European Commission on the grounds of discrimination, since the tax will affect Republic of Ireland registered trucks, but not NI registered trucks.” “The Government has to send a clear unambiguous signal to London that this kind of discrimination is not acceptable.”   “We need a proper solution …

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